November 14, 2013 — Courtesy of the FOX Sports SPEED blog — Austin, Texas –Lotus has finally confirmed that Heikki Kovalainen will compete in the last two races of the season in car number seven.
Eric Boullier said that the team had considered Davide Valsecchi, but made no mention of dealings with Nico Hulkenberg or a somewhat ambitious request to Michael Schumacher.
Boullier stated: “Obviously we had to move quickly following the news of Kimi’s non-participation in the final two races of this season, and we found ourselves facing a difficult decision in terms of who should take the wheel in Austin and São Paulo.
“On the one hand we had our reserve driver Davide Valsecchi – who is a talented young driver that has shown a great deal of promise – and on the other we had the opportunity to bring in a seasoned Formula 1 competitor in Heikki.
“Whilst we have every faith in Davide’s abilities, we are obviously involved in a tight Constructors’ Championship battle, so it was decided that the experience Heikki could bring to the team would be invaluable as we aim to finish the year in the best position possible. We must thank Tony Fernandes and Caterham F1 Team for their professional conduct in allowing Heikki to join us for the final races of this season.”
Kovalainen said: “It is a fantastic opportunity for me to join Lotus F1 Team for the final two races of 2013. We’ve seen this year that the E21 is a car which can win races and finish on the podium, so I will be pushing hard for the best results possible.
“Jumping into a car so late in the year when you have not been competing in the races all season will be a challenge, but I know the team at Enstone well so I have no concerns about getting up to speed. This is a great opportunity for me, so I would like to thank Tony Fernandes and Caterham F1 Team for allowing me to take advantage of it.”
Listen in below as we got our Formula One analyst Joel Sebastianelli’s opinion on the driver swap just moments after the announcement!
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Tom Baker interview with Joel Sebastianelli on Heikki Kovalainen’s appointment to the Lotus #7: